Shine is taking a bold step: we are launching a closure strategy (Shine’s Sunset).
This entails the managed transition of our activities from our hands to our chapter partners’ hands. At the same time, we will open-license and share our model and curricula so they are available to anyone who wants to help young children learn to read.
The COVID-19 pandemic has irreversibly altered the education landscape in South Africa and created a greater need than ever for reading catch-up programmes.
A lot has changed since we launched our first Shine Centre at Observatory Primary in 2000. At the time, we were one of only a few non-profit organisations (NPOs) focused on reading.
Many more organisations have been established to improve reading, and some provincial governments are investing heavily in foundation phase literacy. There are more models available, and more research about what works in what context. Government is scaling up youth employment programmes. This creates challenges and opportunities.
In this context, we believe that the ‘magic’ of Shine is needed more than ever. But is sustaining Shine in its current form – as a non-profit organisation – the only way to achieve this? And is it the best way? After deep reflection, forecasting and planning, we have come to realise that the answer is: ‘No’.
Choosing proactively to sunset is a response to a changing environment, and a clear-eyed assessment of how our experience and resources can best serve the children of South Africa into the future.
We see this as a joyful celebration of what Shine has contributed over the years, and a thoughtful, considered approach to ensuring its intellectual property, experience, and learning becomes a public good, in service of all who are committed to improving literacy.
And we see it as a courageous, innovative path – one we hope may inspire others.
At the end of the sunsetting process, in March 2024, we plan to have achieved the following:
Even after Shine has formally closed its doors, our learnings, training and resources will continue to support struggling readers through these partners.
Our vision, as Shine, is ‘a nation of readers’ – because we know that ‘words can change worlds’. We hope to leave a legacy that feeds into that goal for many years to come. And we invite you to join us on that journey.